Words: Alan Stokes Image: Ben Jones
StRaNGe Beautiful LIFE – Episode 13: Drifting Sands.
It was a good summer by British standards, but that’s not asking for much in Old Blighty. Most of our summers are plagued with rain, cold winds and more rain; you can not find a sturdier wind break anywhere else in the world. However this time around it felt like summer, it was sunny and hot for longer than a week, leaving most residents of the Great Isles pinching themselves and slapping their friends sun burnt backs in disbelief, wondering what string of weather sodden events lurked just around the corner. But to everyone’s delight the sun kept giving and the ice cream man was a happy man.
Heat wave vs real wave, this summer was seriously wave starved and heat wave after heat wave suppressed any glimmer of a rideable swell headed our way. At one point I looked out the window at the low tide and the sea and sand had merged, smudged like a pastel painting. It was so flat the line between sand and sea was gone, practically an illusion, I had to look twice.
Ironically one of the only swells to hit the coast was courtesy of hurricane Marie, during the first week of August. Ninety nine percent wind swell and hitting our shores sideways, but it was enough to keep the annual Boarmasters buzz and event afloat, and actually finished in over head, rippable conditions for once. But that was about it and the two day side shore wind fest left us before it had even begun, what a tease. My good old trusty longboard was getting some heavy use. Perfect 1ft peelers, though water so clear it looked more Caribbean than Cornish, but that feeling of glide and style soon didn’t fill the yearning void that only screaming across a 6ft face could fill.
Then, just like all summers, it was gone. A Cornish summers haze of beach life and long evening hang outs dispersed and September was born. Surfer’s kept their eyes fixated on the Atlantic’s mood, hoping she would awake from her summer dream; and then a glimmer of hope dawned on the swell chart horizon and saved us from our own sanity.
Boards were packed, unpacked and repacked; fin combo’s were discussed and deliberated upon until all feasible bottom to top turn options and wave riding mind sets were stoked. And then we left, blazing a sleepless trail straight to the ferry port and down to the drifting sands of Les Landes.
With only three days worth of grooming winds and building groundswell, we wasted no time. From sun up until sun down, mission ”surf until you drop” was on – big time. We definitely had some wave riding making up to do. That’s what I love about this coast, with so much beach to explore so many sand bar variables and the tide on your side, somewhere must be going off. You just gotta find it. The froth meter gets turned up to 11 until you’re surfed out and can hardly lift your legs and drag yourself off the beach. Completely done in you sit around and laugh about that hilarious wipeout or who caught the wave of the day, completely surfed out – that is until the break of a new dawn when you start the ritual all over again.
This film documents our three days of wave chasing chaos in September. More hours were spent surfing than on dry land and I easily consumed my own weight in chocolate croissants – it was epic.